A Fistful of Fingers: Movie Review

A Fistful of Fingers (1995) is the first feature film written and directed by Edgar Wright. To be honest, it could only be considered his film debut if we did the same with John Carpenter’s Dark Star (1974). In reality, it’s simply an amateur product, although made by a person of enormous talent, promptly demonstrated with his subsequent films properly made and produced.

Wright worked with his friends in A Fistful of Fingers, all very young like the then TWENTY-YEAR OLD English director. As for the budget, I don’t even know if we can talk about a real budget: everything’s shot between a grove, a beach, a wall with wooden planks leaning against it, and a couple of interior locations.

Being aware of the limitations imposed by the lack of money, Wright played the parody card right away. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously and here’s the old trick of putting a very serious character into a ridiculous world, in full ZAZ style (one example above all, Airplane!, 1980). In this case, here’s the Man With No Name (Graham Low), a bounty hunter who moves and talks like Sergio Leone’s Clint Eastwood, who clashes with The Squint (Oliver Evans).

But there’s no real plot, in reality, being all a mere excuse to create sketches based on the most famous western films (1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is even explicitly mentioned). So there are duels with guns with infinite shots, epic rides with stuffed horses, saloons with Coca Cola advertisements… but there are literally infinite scenes worthy of the greatest parodies of the Eighties that completely break the (deliberately non-existent) atmosphere to get a laugh (there are clapperboards, flutes, signs delimiting the frame, modern cars, a football slow motion analysis during a shootout… not to mention the crazy finale!).

And then I also laughed at the funny Native Americans who speak Star Warsese and at the stupidest puns you can think of (“Nun shall pass“, instead of “None shall pass“, so only nuns can pass).

In short, this 75 minutes western parody, as far as I’m concerned, is better and funnier than Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles (1974). There’s even some dark humor with the game Shoot the peasant at the gun fair sponsored by Guns ‘R’ US! It’s a must see! Ciao!

PS: Is it possible that a line of dialogue pays homage to Therapy?’s Die Laughing? I asked Edgar Wright on Twitter but he didn’t answer me…

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